Columbus, GA (September 18, 2020) – On Friday, September 18, 2020, the GBI arrested Columbus Police Officer Clayton Watkins, 35, and charged him with Battery and Violation of Oath of Office following an investigation of an allegation of excessive use of force. 

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, the GBI was requested by the Columbus Police Department to investigate an allegation of use of excessive force by Officer Watkins during an arrest of Donnell Russell, 43.

During the course of the investigation, it was determined that on October 18, 2019, Watkins and a trainee officer initiated a stop of Russell and another individual who were walking in the middle of the road on Wade Street in Columbus. Pedestrians walking in the road is a violation of a Columbus city ordinance. During the stop, Russell refused to comply when told by Watkins multiple times to open his left hand which appeared to be concealing an item. Watkins then placed Russell in handcuffs and Russell continued to refuse to open his hand. Body camera footage shows Watkins subsequently hitting Russell multiple times in his side, pointing a Taser at him, throwing him to the ground and hitting him again. It was determined that Russell was concealing a small amount of suspected marijuana in his hand.

Watkins arrested Russell and charged him with obstruction of an officer and violation of a city ordinance.

The GBI investigation has been completed. The case file will be submitted to the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. 

Contact Special Agent in Charge

Fred Wimberly